Aunty Ice Axe escorted some old friends around the Central Otago Rail Trail during a short Christmas break from her multitudinous good works and burgeoning herb business ( She reports that she was agreeably surprised by the whole experience: despite a slight nostalgic hankering for the days when one could travel the route in the civilised comfort of ones private railway car, the modern aunt is adaptable and found that just as much enjoyment could be derived from struggling into a howling north-westerly on a bicycle. The sense of achievement was second only to the reviving taste of the vodka zinger provided as emergency first aid by the Ranfurly Motel on perceiving Aunty's slightly stressed state on her arrival at that wonderful establishment at the end of her first day's travel. Aunty also recommends the river trail from Alexandra to Clyde, but plans to have a special padded version of her patent all-wool tramping-style directoire drawers when she next takes to the saddle.